Fast Food and Technology

Fast food means food that is prepared quickly, not food that’s eaten quickly – at least that’s what it SHOULD mean!

Modern technology helps busy people spend less time in the kitchen doing the cooking. What used to take 30 minutes in the oven now takes five minutes or less in the microwave.

Americans first invented so-called TV dinners back in the 1950s. These were pre-prepared meals with say, meat, veg and potatoes all in one package. Busy people with small kitchens could heat up their dinner in the oven while watching TV and then eat it straight out of the package using a tray on their lap.

Another part of food technology is food preservation. This means preventing food from rotting. Early ways of preserving food, such as drying it or smoking it over a fire, are still used as well as modern methods, like canning and freezing. In canning, foods are sealed in cans to keep out the air and germs. Freezing keeps foods at low temperatures to stop the processes that rot them.

During the 1930s, the American businessman Earl Tupper invented a high-quality plastic that was durable, flexible and odourless (it means it had no smell).

After using it for gas masks in the Second World War, Tupper went on to make food storage boxes with a unique, airtight seal. This kept food moist in the dry air of the new fridges. His Tupperware was launched in 1946 and by the 1950s was an essential part of every kitchen.

Fridges, freezers and preserved foods help people spend less time shopping now. In the past, women used to shop at their local butcher, baker and grocer every day. Now they can do all their shopping in one go at big supermarkets like Waitrose. And most foods last longer – especially in the freezer.

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